Longtime Wendy’s franchisee Larry Fleming has sold his 38 Wendy’s restaurants in Kansas, Tulsa and Amarillo, Texas.
“He just felt like the timing was right,” says Jim Cook, senior vice president of marketing for Fleming’s LDF Cos.
Irvine, Ca.-based Cotti Foods purchased the restaurants. Cook says the company will open an office in Tulsa but also will have a Wichita presence.
“They will probably have a Wichita office as well,” he says. “I know they will have a number of people in Wichita from a standpoint of operational people.”
Fleming opened his first Wendy’s in 1975 at 160 S. Rock Road, “which is still there today,” Cook says.
At the time, there were only about 300 Wendy’s restaurants. Today, there are about 6,400 nationally.
Cook says Fleming came to know the founder of Wendy’s, the late Dave Thomas, well.
“They struck up a very good friendship.”
In 1998, Fleming was inducted into the Wendy’s Hall of Fame. He also started the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Adoption Foundation, which later became part of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
LDF Cos. owns LDF Food Group, which operated the restaurants, and LDF Sales & Distributing. That company sells a variety of products, but its primary ones are Coors, Miller and Red Bull.
Fleming “just felt that he wanted to focus more of his time and efforts on the distribution side,” Cook says.
He says there are no plans to sell the distributorship, which Fleming has had for about 35 years.
“Not at all,” Cook says. “Emphatic. Not at all.”